Impact Publications : Aircargo_239
AirCArgo AsiA-PACifiC • OCT-NOV 2015 • Page 3 Qatar Airways Cargo now No.3 and set to deliver an enhanced level of service AkbAr Al Baker, group chief executive of Qatar Airways, is understandably chuffed – in the polite, aristocrat- ic manner that has always been his trademark - that the carrier has hit the top three of international air cargo operations. He’s determined Qatar Airways Cargo will remain – forever – high on the rankings determined by IATA’s FTK figures, but there’s a twist. Al Baker doesn’t care deeply if the airline he has done so much to create and build exponentially year by year makes it to #1. Far better, he said at an international media briefing timed to announce sev- eral new developments and fortuitous- ly coinciding with the IATA news, to deliver non-stop good value to custom- ers, meeting their needs and budgets by being efficient and providing the aircraft, product and ground infrastruc- ture to ensure this can be sustained. “Becoming #1 doesn’t really interest us,” he said. “Our quality of service surpasses #1 and #2. We simply want to be #1 in customer service.” The way Qatar Airways Cargo is heading, however, suggests that while service will undoubtedly remain its core, further growth is inevitable. For this group, cargo is very, very important although earnings are also strong from passenger traffic, one of the world’s most innovative and suc- cessful travel retail (duty free) opera- tions and a wealth of other services. “Our cargo capability is a major component in driving our group suc- cess and growth,” said Al Baker. “It will remain a focus of our expansion in the coming years.” The briefing at Doha’s new Hamad International Airport – which includes the existing QR cargo terminal and nearby site of a massive new terminal to be operational by 2018 – launched a portfolio of new cargo products and enhancements to others, along with an indication of further freighter deliver- ies. More routes are also being read- ied, all carrying freight whether in belly-holds or on the super-efficient freighter fleet. It’s “the new norm,” Al Baker sug- gested. Legacy carriers will have to change if they want to catch up and some might not make it at all, he implies. The new Qatar Airways Cargo prod- ucts include QR Equine and QR Ex- press, both building on existing servic- es by broadening the customer offer, adding specialist staff and allocating management/marketing resources. QR Equine will make more use of Qatar Airways Cargo’s sophisticated and airy live animal facility at HIA, rec- ognising that thoroughbred purchases are growing in Qatar and elsewhere in the Middle East. Specialist horse handling staff are being recruited to join the facility’s cur- rent vets – two of whom are on duty at all times. With QR Express, Al Baker explained the carrier was introducing a simplified system with high boarding priority and rapid handling, guaranteeing speedy delivery. Features include short and flexible close-outs, quick ramp transfer for transit express and speedy retrieval at final destination. This product is evolving as a re- sponse to internet buying which has changed distribution systems, Al Akbar agreed, but stressed that QR wasn’t setting out to be another FedEx, DHL or UPS. Express freight was a high yield and high margin business, he said. “We want to play a significant part in this business – this is the first step.” The January 1 debut of Qatar Airways’ Los Angeles service would be the trigger for getting QR Express under way on the West Coast, possibly using FedEx to feed in. The Los Angeles link strengthens the carrier’s US presence which was expanded last year to include Phila- delphia, Miami and Dallas/Fort Worth. Boston is to join the network in March followed by Atlanta in June. Continued page 8. At the media briefing: group chief executive Akbar Al Baker (centre) flanked by chief operating officer Bodr Mohammed Al Meer (left) and chief officer cargo Ulrich Ogiermann.